When I won this book from Epic Reads, I knew that I had to lend it to one of my best friends, Emily. Her family comes from the Dominican Republic (just as the main character's family in Flowers does) and she hasn't found many books that deal with her culture. (Seriously, YA needs some diversity and STAT.) Because of this, I thought it would be more meaningful for her to do the review, so please welcome Emily to The Page Sage.
Fifteen-year-old Nina Perez is faced with a future she never expected. She must leave her Garden of Eden, her lush home in the Dominican Republic, when she's sent by her mother to seek out a better life with her brother in New York. As Nina searches for some glimpse of familiarity amid the jarring world of Washington Heights, she must uncover her own strength. She learns to uncover roots within foreign soil and finds a way to grow, just like the orchids that blossom on her fire escape. And when she is confronted by ugly secrets about her brother's business, she comes to understand the realities of life in this new place. But then she meets him-that green-eyed boy- who she can't erase from her thoughts, the one who just might help her learn to see beauty in spite of tragedy.
Summary from Goodreads.
My first reaction upon reading this novel was pure joy. My parents are from the Dominican Republic and I always go there on vacation. Reading the first few chapters (which were set in the Dominican Republic) brought me a sense of nostalgia and warmth; I felt as though I had taken a trip back to the island. I could hear the merengue music and the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Joseph does a wonderful job with imagery, as she makes it very easy for the reader to feel as though they are seeing the story unfold before his/her eyes.
There are some weaknesses with the story, however. The ending feels a little rushed and the pacing of the story is a bit off. There are some moments that just aren’t important to the story and there are others that feel rushed. Towards the end, I feel as though the author was just looking for a way to be finished, which made it seem so abrupt.
As for the plot, it’s not too complicated.The love between Luis and Nina was very much like Tony and Maria from West Side Story (one of my favorite musicals!). The book, overall, is very enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a nice easy book with which to read and relax.
*3.5 stars*Do you feel YA needs more diversity or feel like your culture isn't represented in the genre? What books do you recommend?